Rantoul — The Rantoul Eagles have not made the playoffs since 2005. If the 2019 version of the Eagles wants to break that streak, it will probably have to start with a win on Friday at Prarie Central.
The Ealges are opening against the Hawks for the third year straight.
Last year the Hawks came away with a 52-28 victory to start off the 2018 season.
Prairie Central has a new head coach, but Rantoul head coach Tom Hess expects more of the same from the Hawks.
“They have a new coach, but he was on the staff last year. I expect them to be the same disciplined, hard-nose team that is going to run the ball a lot,” Hess said.
The Rantoul fans got their first look at the 2019 Eagles during Friday night’s meet the Eagles kick-off night. Hess said that the boys enjoyed the chance to play in front of the fans.
“It felt good for the boys to play in front of their parents and friends; there was a great turnout,” Hess said.
Hess said not only was it great for the players, it was also fun for the coaches.
“It was a great event. It was productive and injury-free,” Hess said.
With their sights set on Friday night, Hess knows the players could be nervous.
“They have used the experience throughout the summer, stick to their assingment and fly to the ball,” Hess said.
After a grueling summer, Hess is eager to see his team under the Friday night lights for the first time.
“We’re excited to play a real football game. We can’t wait to see what they can do,” Hess said.
The Eagles went 2-7 and in 2018, losing close games to St. Thomas More, Illinois Valley Central and Unity.
The Eagles’ 2019 schedule is filled with all nine Illini Prarie Conference foes. The IPC includes the 2018 3A state champion Monticello Sages who the Eagles face in Week 4.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@Rantoulpress.com or on twitter @RyanBirchRP